UNHCR NGO Innovation Award 2020 for Refugee-led Organizations in the COVID-19 Response (USD $15,000 prize)

UNHCR NGO Innovation Award 2020 for Refugee-led Organizations in the COVID-19 Response (USD $15,000 prize)

Deadline: September 25, 2020

Nominations for the UNHCR NGO Innovation Award 2020 are now open. The UNHCR NGO Innovation Award celebrates efforts and achievements of NGOs who developed innovative approaches for protection and delivery of services to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.

About the Award

The Award 2020 looks for novel and creative solutions RLOs have developed in response to COVID-19 at the global, regional, national and local levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a global health emergency, it has also negatively impacted protection and well-being of persons of concern around the world causing, for instance, loss of access to asylum, freedom of movement, and livelihoods; increased food insecurity; and risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Refugees and other forcibly displaced populations are among some of the most vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic. Fortunately, in the response, creativity and innovation also have flourished. RLOs, working with persons of concern and host communities, have come up with many innovative practices, for instance, reshaping existing livelihood projects to manufacturing protective equipment, hosting radio slot talks to distribute correct information amongst refugees, producing plant-based soaps for distribution and utilizing medical/psychosocial consultations via accessible messaging tools.

UNHCR, via this Award, wishes to identify and recognize the creativity and innovative approaches adopted by the RLOs in addressing multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the award is to provide public recognition to those efforts resulting in better protection and delivery of service to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR; and amplify the acts of solidarity and innovation in this age of disruption.


  • A prize of USD $15,000 for each winner.
  • One representative of each winning RLO will be invited to attend at a virtual/in-person award ceremony held in parallel to UNHCR’s 70th anniversary celebration in December 2020.


  • Open to a legally registered non-profit RLO with a bank account;
  • Working with refugees, IDPs, the stateless and host communities in forcibly displaced context;
  • Demonstrated innovative approaches that address challenges in the COVID-19 response in a creative and novel manner, reflecting the value of diversity and inclusion.

Selection Criteria

  1. Understanding of the problem/issue at hand.
  2. Novelty of solution (solution is new to the context, or new to the world – product, service, process or outcome).
  3. Inclusion (who has been involved).
  4. Impact and/or initial findings/results.


Nominations will close on September 25, 2020. Winners will be announced in November 2020.

Click here to nominate

For more information, visit UNHCR NGO Innovation Award.